Thursday, June 14, 2012

How I Met My Saudi Prince

Exactly four years ago my shift at the Saudi hospital had started out like any other night. The allocated patients kept me busy and life seemed to be rolling on as usual. Little did I know that night would change my life for good.

I was thankful to have my friend "Katherine" working on the same shift, it was always a relief having another westerner and English speaking person to talk to during the night shift. We had again agreed to exchange our patients over to each other to enable a break in the middle of the shift.

The moment that would change my life happened very randomly. I was looking for Katherine to ask her which coffee she wanted from Starbuck's. It was my turn to fetch that night's caffeine dose and I was on my way down to the coffee shop. I saw her nurse presence light on in one room and decided to pop my head in quickly.

As I peaked in, Katherine was chatting inside with the patient and his relative. The Euro Cup football match was playing loudly on TV. She excitedly motioned me to enter the room further so curiously I did, at the same time asking what her Starbucks order was going to be.

As I glanced at the patient sitting there on his bed, something strange happened. As if time had stopped, like a missing piece had fallen into its place. A handsome young man looked back at me, equally baffled by the moment. For just a few seconds our eyes met and then both of us shyly looked away. I greeted the men with salaams and smiled. They replied back politely, not even looking at me for long but eyeing the floor or the TV. I had learned by now this was a sign of respect, not disrespect as my own culture would tell me. They did not want to make me feel awkward.

I felt a rush of blood going to my head, I was blushing now. Oh how I hated when that happened! I wanted to leave, but then I felt a certain curiosity of this man who I thought was probably one of the most handsome men I had ever laid eyes on. He had a certain sparkle in his eyes that intrigued me and his smile seemed to light up the room. I didn't want to leave anymore.

I lingered for a moment, asking about the game on TV. The truth is I knew nothing about football, the only thing I cared about was the Italian football team, for other reasons than their skills. He made a joke about the Italians and we all laughed. I told him I was rooting for Italy and more jokes were thrown around. Secretly I was thinking to myself how the patient actually reminded me of an Italian football player with his long black hair brushed up in a ponytail and his smiling dark chocolate eyes.

When I couldn't think of any more excuses to stay in the room I left to fetch the coffee. I kept thinking about the patient and wanted to ask Katherine about him. I felt drawn to go talk to him more. Later that night my chance came when Katherine and I swapped patients for her break.

Katherine had informed her patients she was leaving for an hour and meanwhile nurse "Layla from Finland" would be taking over. As she was leaving she teased me, "he will call you for sure, something tells me he wants to see you again. When you walked into the room it was like something made a "click" sound! I swear I could hear it!"

About five minutes after she left, the call bell rang. Room 42. It's him! I was nervous to enter and felt my heart racing. The young man asked if he could get a pain killer. Sure, I said and left to check his files. When I returned he thanked me for the medicine and shyly asked a few questions about me.

I was amazed how it felt so easy to talk to him, his English was perfect and I forgot he was even Saudi. It was as if we already knew each other somehow. It became apparent that we had actually lived in the same area in the U.S as kids. What a coincidence! We talked about Finland and at some point I mentioned how we have so many moose there but I couldn't remember how to say the plural. What was it, perhaps mooses? He laughed and told me it must be meese! To this day I remember that silly joke and how it made us both laugh so hard.  His smile filled my heart with joy.

Thinking back to that day and where I was in my life I realize how fortunate I was meeting this remarkable man. From that night shift, it has been a long, sometimes extremely hard but rewarding journey to where we are now. We have had to overcome so many obstacles on the way. No one believed in us in the beginning, except us.

Never in a million years did I think something like this would happen to me when I landed on Saudi soil. When I left Finland for Saudi people used to taunt me, you will find a Saudi Prince there, fall in love and stay forever! I told them, in your dreams only! I guess sometimes fairy tales do come true.

64 comments:

Shimshim said...

Layla, you have such a great way with words. I loved your story and how things developed between you - in fact I am now even more intrigued and want to know more! I can see the parallels in your "struggle" to get to where you are now - I am still "struggling", my other half is working in Riyadh whilst I am working in Indonesia for now - we have been "together" for 4 years too! Maybe next year we will both be in nearer countries! Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi laylah, such a sweet story :) have always wondered how you met your significant other in saudi, I guess this answered my question :)

Sireh

Diana said...

Please, please write some more. What happened after that? Love your blog!

Mrs Gebu said...

It's so sweet Layla...like a real fairy tale
Thanks for sharing...

Mrs Gebu said...

It's so sweet Layla...like a real fairy tale
Thanks for sharing...

sessi said...

Congrats on your anniversary!

Ildi said...

Dear Laylah,
i love your story! ♥♥♥ Wishing you many many happy years and cute kids more around! Finnish princess found love and got love back so far away from home and a different world! :D Thank you for sharing lovliest moments from your life.

Kisses!

Star Vogue said...

lovely story may Allah SWT bless all marriages with long lasting love and happiness!
http://starvogue84.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Subhanallah!...what a beautiful story i was imagining the entire seen playing in my mind mashallah. Allah make it a long and happy marriage ameen.
UmmLujayn

Muslimah in reverie said...

Aww mashaAllah what a lovely story :). May Allah swt bless your marriage eternally,and place an everlasting love and mercy between you two always!

Umm Gamar said...

Salammualaykum Laylah,thanis for sharing with us this story :) Subhanallah,we can never know how or when we will meet our soulmate. I met my Saudi Prince while in university here in Malaysia,he was cousins with a friend of mine and we too immediately 'clicked'. Now we are blessed with a beautiful princess. Although,as you experienced, the journey to our marriage wasn't easy,but Allah has willed our union ;) Laylah, how does his family accept/treat you as a non Saudi wife,may we know?

Lady Carrot said...

Very nice story :) wish you guys much much love and happiness inshallah

Karen King said...

Magical! When I interviewed for a writing position with my husband's company (our week anniversary was yesterday), everyone I met seemed to be impressed with me. I was asked by everyone, have you met David? Turns out my future husband was out that day, home with sick children. So many people mentioned David in that interview, that I knew there was something special about that man. I didn't meet him until first day on the job, but I felt that same click, too. As we married last week, I remember bowing my head during prayers and thought about your true love. I pray that we are both happy with our princes and our lives forever. God blessed us, and I am so grateful! Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

beautiful story..so sweet mashallah!.
I am intrigued to know like Umm Gamar how his family accepted/treated you into their family..there are many girls going through similar situations and it will be nice to hear from someone who has experience.
Your husband as you mentioned spent time in america so his family does that make his family a little less conservative to other saudi families who have never travelled and maybe more open to the option of the "dreaded western wife
LOL?
UmmLujayn

Noor said...

MashAllah Laylah what a beautiful story and I am so glad you found true love. Its so true we never know when it will happen. If you would have told me as a girl I would marry a Saudi and live here I would have never ever believed it would you lol. Oh I get the married a Saudi prince thing all the time to weird lol.

Farooq said...

thanks for sharing the story Laylah. Remember a movie's tag line. "Love will find a way" Well it sure did.

In the words of the great (just kidding ok!) Justin Bieber, "Never say never" lol.

My wife said she would never have imagined marrying an Indian but here we are 3 yrs this July and still going strong alhamdulillah.

Anonymous said...

Great story Layla. How long after meeting your husband did you become Muslim? Or are you Muslim? If not, would you consider it? Sorry for all the questions, but you have such an interesting life it leaves one wanting to hear more and more.

Dianne said...

Lovely story of how you guys met each other. Speaking of football, Euro2012 is going on right now, and as I type, I'm watching Italy vs Croatia. lol!

ربة منزل said...

Beautiful story. Made me smile all the way to the end. Starbucks must be your favorite coffee place today :)

Alice said...

OMG, it's love from first sight! You're so lucky Layla! Or should I rather say: you are so BLESSED! Such love is a luxury, does not happen to everyone. I'm happy for you and hope this love will flourish forever!

Anonymous said...

oh, thank you, such a lovely story.... please post part 2!

Steve at the Pub said...

Lovely story, very well written. (I'll take issue with the Italian football team though! I prefer my footballers to have machisimo.)

Soile said...

Great story, you are soooooo lucky!

Laylah said...

Shimshim-thank you and I hope you will be able to live in the same country with your other half soon!

Laylah said...

Hi Sireh, thanks and I guess you could say it was totally randomly!

Laylah said...

Diana-thank you!Ohhh many many things happened after that. Maybe I really should start writing that book, eh?

Laylah said...

Thank you Mrs Gebu!

Laylah said...

Thanks!

Laylah said...

Thanks Ildi! Never would've thought to find love in this country!

Laylah said...

Thanks Star Vogue!

Laylah said...

Umm Lujayn thank you!

Laylah said...

Aww thanks for the kind wishes!

Felicia said...

What a beautiful story! Wishing your family all the best with much happiness. When I first seen my prince charming his smile captured me too. Sometimes there is that instant connection that you cannot explain. Love is a beautiful thing!

Laylah said...

Umm Gamar-yes we can never know when that day comes! They have come to accept me and treat me very well alhamdulillah.

Laylah said...

Thanks Lady Carrot!

Laylah said...

Karen-thanks for sharing your story too!

Laylah said...

Well I can say that even though they all lived in US they are still very conservative, except for my husband I guess:)

Laylah said...

Noor, true I would've laughed and not believed as well! Life is full of surprises.

Laylah said...

Farooq-congrats to you for the upcoming anniversary!

Laylah said...

Hi it was about a year after.

Laylah said...

I'm still rooting for Italy to my husband's annoyance ;)

Laylah said...

lol Ya I have a favorite there :)

Laylah said...

Alice thank you! I don't believe in love at first sight but it was definitely something at first sight :)

Laylah said...

there would be probably up to part 200 if I continued the story :)

Laylah said...

Steve-oh come one! Italians are a "league" of their won haha

Laylah said...

Thanks Soile! You never know who you will meet here ;)

Madame Kissankulma said...

Wonderful story, I`m so happy for both of you. You look so comfortable with muslim culture, which I appreciate. Do you speak finnish to your child? I love the way you tell in your blog about Finland but also about good things in Saudi. I hope you and your family all the best!

Anonymous said...

Salam Laylah
I was wondering if u knew the "undertheabaya" blogger and why she decided to go private. A lot of her readers cannot contact her now and it just seems strange that she failed to mention anything or even a reason and won't accept anyone trying to read her blog either. I didn't know anyone else who may know of her so thats why I'm asking you..hope you can shed some light on the matter.
Thanks
Sana

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

lol, loved it. hope to hear more. May Allah protect and bless you both, ameen.

Anonymous said...

Loved your story! Thank you for sharing! It's so romantic! Francesca from Ottawa, Canada

Anonymous said...

You have a great love story, I love it...!!!..Where do you live now? In Saudi Arabia or Finland ? How many children do you have ? Wish you the best !

Anonymous said...

You have a great love story !!!

Anonymous said...

Great love story

Afsal_ Alif said...

felt like reading Romeo & Juliet.....love @ first sight....Seems like the Indian love epic (Laila & Majnu ). I wish I too have such a wonderful & fascinating experience in the near future......!!

Anonymous said...

That's so sweet :-) I wish I could meet a Saudi like this

Misha said...

Mashallah you are lucky to have met someone so sweet, and its quite a story to tell your kids :-). You certainly ahve a way with words, you painted quite a picture, I love reading your posts, especially the ones where you share personal stories, they really draw you in, and we as readers feel ike that we know though we've never met...enjoy your summer holidays in Finland.xxx

Ineta said...

This is an amazing story! Thank you so much for sharing it!

sarah said...

THAT IS SO SWEET.
I am a hopelessly romantic 19 yearold, and your story made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
I have read your entire blog, and have enjoyed it very very much. Please don't stop posting. Ignore the haters and the copycats, they are only a drop in the sea, there are so many more people who love and appreciate your work and your awesome sense of humor!
Hugs from Canada <3333

Anonymous said...

I LOVE this story! so happy for you. may God bless your lives together, in this world and in Heaven! much love to you from a sister in Ottawa, canada.

Anonymous said...

Wow, unsure how I came across your blog and ended up reading this. I wish I fell in love with a woman this way. It's so beautiful. I guess for some dreams as such come true, for others they remain just dreams.. God bless your entire family for always and preserve your love till you reach paradise and forever.

Layla said...

Thank you all for the kind words and wishes!

Mohammed Ahmed said...

Mrs. Layla...You are really lucky....May God Bless You.... Both

Louise G said...

I just discovered your blog, and I love it (so fairy tales are true ?!) ... As a major in arabic studies I'm an avid reader of anything regarding the arab world, and your blog looks like on of the best about Saudi Arabia, a country that I find fascinating for different reasons.
So thank you for your blog that I'll be following with interest !

drtaher said...

Dear Laylah,

What a great story! I have heard of so many doctor-nurse stories (my own marriage is one of those) but this story of nurse-patient is unique and so entertaining! May you always stay happy with your dream prince. and may your blog continue to enlighten us in the same way as it has been doing for the past several years.

= Dr. Taher